We study how event organizers with an eye towards field configuration enact a situation of disruption in Germany’s popular music industry. Our analysis of longitudinal data on three event series highlights how event organizers addressed the void left by the discon-tinuation of the field’s incumbent event, the Popkomm trade fair, symbolizing the breakdown of the traditional music value chain. We find that the organizers in our sam-ple experimented with alternative event formats, explored new themes, and embedded events regionally to set up their events in the field’s changing event landscape. They hereby provided temporary arenas for testing out and debating new field boundaries and practices that gave directions for field reconfiguration. We argue that by setting up new events and staging alternative possibilities for a field’s future event organizers engage in proto-institutional work. This perspective extends recent research on field-configuring events and institutional work in that it focuses on the ‘backstage’ role of event organiz-ers in shaping field-level developments in a dynamically evolving field.